New York Personal Injury Attorneys
Common Daycare Hazards Parents Should Be Aware Of
The thought of leaving a child in the care of someone else can leave a parent feeling anxious and concerned for their safety. When daycare is the only feasible option, there are a number of safety hazards that parents should be aware of when researching in order to find a facility that will be the right fit.
The staff to child ratio should be low, ideally one caregiver for every three children (1:3), and support staff do not count. Anytime a group of children does not have enough adult supervision, it is unsafe. Infants, toddlers, and young children must remain in sight at all times. Questions to ask, include:
- What is the caregiver to child ratio?
- How many caregivers are used to transition children from one area to another?
- How do they continuously ensure that every child is accounted for?
Lack of Background Check, Inexperienced, or Under-Trained Staff
Properly trained staff, who have had extensive background and criminal screenings, is an optimal way to improve safety and prevent injuries. Observe staff members to make certain that health and safety rules are being followed. Ask the following questions:
- Are background checks completed on all staff members?
- What is the center’s employee training policy?
- Are all staff members required to be certified in pediatric CPR and first-aid?
- Can I see copies of the staff’s first aid and CPR cards?
- Is someone always at the facility who is trained in pediatric CPR and first-aid?
Improperly Administered Medication
Extraordinary care must be taken when medications are administered. Any instance of carelessness or improper dosage can be dangerous and potentially fatal. If medication must be given while your child is in daycare, write down instructions and give the facility the medicine in its original container that possesses the dosage instructions. Remind staff members often of the proper dosage. If your child has allergies, ensure that all caregivers are aware of them. Some questions to ask, are:
- Where is my child’s allergy information and EpiPens kept?
- Is the staff trained in how to properly store, handle and administer medication?
- Will staff regularly check for any reactions to medication and is there an emergency plan in place, should one occur?
- Is it possible to have two staff members present while medication is being administered?
Unsafe Sleep Practices
Daycare members must be trained in safe sleep practices with polices in place, as the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) still exists. Questions to ask, include:
- How are babies put to sleep?
- Are bumper pads, fluffy blankets or toys ever placed in cribs?
- Is soft bedding used?
Poisons or Toxic Substances easily Accessible
Accidental poisoning can cause injury or death in young children. Ask the facility director:
- Where are medications and cleaning products stores? Are they locked away?
- Is food stored in an area that is separate from cleaning supplies?
Recalled or Unsafe Nursery Products and Equipment
Look over play areas to ensure cleanliness and check to make sure any equipment used is in good condition.
- Are you current on children’s product recalls?
- Are younger and older children play areas kept separate?
- Are play areas regularly checked for choking or tripping hazards?
High Instances of Illness Transmission
Children should be kept home whenever they are sick as germs are easily passed at daycare centers. For that reason, proper cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting policies and practices should be in place. The following questions are recommended:
- Are there cleaning policies the staff must adhere to?
- Do staff members and children have to be current on immunizations?
- Does the staff make sure children wash their hands frequently?
Lack of Preparation for an Emergency
It is vitally important for a daycare center to have an emergency plan in place in case of a fire, natural disaster, violence, or abuse. Parents should ask the following questions:
- What are the plans for an emergency?
- Are all staff members aware of what the emergency plans entail?
- Are emergency plans practiced and kept up to date?
- Can I view the log containing information on previous drills?
- Can I observe a drill?
Before visiting a particular daycare facility, check that they are a licensed operation. Detailed instructions on how to do so for a New York childcare center can be found here.
Know Your Rights
Finding out your child has been injured is every parent’s worst nightmare. When an injury occurs as a result of daycare negligence, it’s important that those at fault are held responsible and accountable for their actions. Find out your legal rights and options by contacting Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. We offer free consultations, call (212) 732-9000 today.